Getting COVID-19 tests for kids can be difficult, but schools often require them. ‘It really puts parents in a tricky position’

Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Lifestyles

Facebook and word-of-mouth

Once results come back, it can be a challenge to share those with a school or day care.

Many health systems have online portals where results are posted. Parents can print those results or email them to schools. Other sites, however, may first give results through a phone call.

Zlatin, whose 9-year-old daughter was tested at the Arlington Heights racecourse, knew from reading about other parents' experiences on Facebook that getting results to her school might be an issue.

“I told the whole family, ‘If you hear the phone ring, answer it,’” Zlatin said. When she got the call, she raced to grab an iPad to record the conversation and then emailed the recording to her daughter’s school nurse.

She didn’t receive a physical letter with the negative result until eight days after the phone call.

Rizman said it’s frustrating having to rely on word-of-mouth and social media for information about where and how to get children tested.


“It’s tricky to navigate, and I think I understand the workings more than most people,” she said, noting that she’s a physician assistant.

Many parents consider it part of the trade-off for the ability to keep their kids in school and day care.

Emily Loesche’s 18-month-old son has already had four negative COVID-19 tests: two that had to be done before undergoing a procedure, one when he was congested, and another when she worried he might have been exposed to the illness.

Two of the tests were conducted at a Lurie site, and two were done at her pediatrician’s office. Each time went smoothly. At Lurie, he was tested while still strapped into his car seat, and at his doctor’s office, he sat on his mom’s lap.

Still, she said, the whole experience has been difficult, from having to decide when and how to get him tested to worrying he might develop more symptoms and have to stay home from day care. She and her husband both work from home, in their two-bedroom condo in Logan Square.

“We barely have room for the two of us to be here working, much less watch a child who is very mobile,” Loesche said. “We have to have some sort of child care solution. Day care is our only option, and we really like our day care a lot. But it’s really stressful.”

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